Thanks to the ways that the media portrays what the perfect body is supposed to look like, our own interpretations have become skewed. This leaves many of us—no matter what size or body type we may be—feeling inadequate. And quite frankly? It’s bullshit.
When it comes to the summer months, or so-called “bikini season,” we can, at times, be at our most vulnerable. However, we think that this is precisely when we should be at our most confident and feeling our very best. As the meme goes, how does one get that perfect “bikini body?” Simply put: “Put a bikini on your body.”
Here at NYLON, we’re all about self-love and confidence and embracing the person we are, inside and out.
We asked five models to talk to us about what they love the most about their bodies—many of them things that would be considered by society as “flaws”—the importance of loving oneself, and their go-to summer self-care rituals. Keep scrolling to read what they had to say.
Photographers: Jin + Dana
Stylist: Heather Newberger
Hair: Niko Weddel using Amika haircare
Makeup: Lindsey Williams
Stylist's assistant: Taylor Freeman
Makeup assistant: Emily Klein
What do you love the most about your body?Marley: I love my stretch marks. I used to hate the fact I didn't have completely clear skin around my hips, back, etc., but now I can't help but adore how my stretch marks shimmer and shine in the light.
Marley is wearing an Onia swimsuit, Madewell shorts, and her own shoes and jewelry.
Why do you think that self-love is so important?Hannah: Self-love is vital because the way you view yourself directly influences your happiness. It's no coincidence that the unhappiest times of my life were filled with self-loathing and insecurities. In order to be at peace with your identity as a whole, you must learn to love your physical appearance.
Hannah is wearing a Chromat swim top, & Other Stories jeans, MM6 shoes, and her own jewelry.
What’s your go-to summer self-care ritual?Rori: Whenever I feel like I need a break, I turn off my phone and go to my favorite coffee shop. I'll get a honeybee latte and get lost in a Chuck Palahniuk novel or biography. Then I go to the pier and look at New Jersey across the water.
Rori is wearing an Onia swimsuit and Wildfox romper.
What do you love the most about your body?Ushshi: Superficially, I love that my body is squishy, soft, warm, and sensuous. I like that I take up space, physically, as much as I do in my personhood. I often simultaneously feel like an immovable mountain and a mound of wobbly jelly; it's a fun sensation to move through life in this particular vessel. But, more significantly, I love that it allows me to experience life in a sensory prism. Be that pleasure or pain, feeling imprisoned or free, my body lets me soak up the sun, float in the water, wince and tense up from injury, heal with a long night's sleep, tear up watching Moana—it's the visceral embodiment and passage bearer of our inner selves. There's a lot that comes with being alive, here, now, in our corporeal form, and I don't take any of it for granted.
Ushshi is wearing an Avia tank top, Lady Grey necklace, and her own swimsuit.
What’s your go-to summer self-care ritual?Marley: I feel like summer is full of opportunities for self-care, but my go-to is outdoor silent meditation. If I'm at the beach, for instance, even with friends, I'll take 20 to 30 minutes to meditate under the sun. Elevating my level of consciousness is so critical to self-love and self-acceptance.
Hannah is wearing a Chromat swim top, & Other stories jeans, and her own jewelry. Marley is wearing a Chromat swimsuit and her own jacket and jewelry.
What do you love the most about your body?Ottavia: What I love most about my body are my curves. I used to always wear baggy T-shirts to hide my body, but now I'm always on the hunt to find new pieces that hug my curves.
Ottavia is wearing a Chromat swimsuit and vintage vest from Feng Sway.
Why do you think that self-love is so important?Ushshi: To me, loving yourself is being honest with letting yourself feel your feelings and live in tandem with where you're at, rather than in an opposing current. Self-love isn't always some hokey version of looking at yourself in the mirror, going "ayooo"—though, I do that, too. It's sitting with your bad moments, it is honoring and giving space for your pain, it is knowing you are enough and that you are intrinsically resilient, on good days and bad. Tapping into that as often as you can, is important because it is what will fundamentally get you through life.
Marley is wearing an Onia swim top, Chromat swim bottoms, and her own accessories. Ottavia is wearing is wearing a Chromat swimsuit. Hannah is wearing a Shade and Shore swimsuit and her own sunglasses. Ushshi is wearing her own swimsuit. Rori is wearing an Onia swimsuit.
Why do you think that self-love is so important?Ottavia: If you don't love yourself head to toe, it reflects on so many aspects of your life. Know your worth!
Ottavia is wearing an Ava & Viv swimsuit on left and on right a Chromat swimsuit and vintage vest from Feng Sway. Rori is wearing an Onia swimsuit and Wildfox romper.
Why do you think that self-love is so important?Rori: Without self-love or self-acceptance, you can get lost in uncertainty. Validate yourself instead of searching for validation elsewhere.
Rori is wearing an Onia swimsuit. Marley is wearing a Shade & Shore cover up and her own jewelry.
What’s your go-to summer self-care ritual?Hannah: My favorite self-care ritual in the summer is doing face masks with my friends while sipping tea.
Hannah is wearing a Shade and Shore swimsuit and her own sunglasses. Ushshi is wearing her own swimsuit.